What's Your Weapon?

Friday, April 30, 2018

For many heroes, their choice of weapon says more about their personality and sense of aesthetics than their penchant for mechanical optimization. For others, form follows function, and still others blend the two. But what sort of weapon fits your personality best? Let's take a look at various weapons and figure it out!

Simple, Martial, or Exotic?

All weapons in Pathfinder are simple, martial, or exotic, based on their rough level of power. Unlike in Pathfinder First Edition, exotic weapons are not just a mixture of powerful European weapons and weapons from other cultures that only occasionally had a leg up over their martial kin. In Pathfinder Second Edition, we have a different way of talking about whether a weapon is likely to be found in a particular region, and so a weapon's type instead describes a weapon's mix of power and flexibility. Simple weapons usually have a smaller damage die than similar martial weapons (d6 rather than d8, for instance), and exotic weapons usually use the same damage die as a martial weapon but include additional abilities that make the weapon more complex.

Characters start with proficiency in either groups of weapons or lists of individual weapons, and they can take ancestry or general feats (and, rarely, class feats) to gain more!

Weapon Traits

Whatever your weapon proficiencies, you'll want to choose a weapon with useful traits that match your taste and play style. Even among martial weapons that use two hands, a bo staff, a greatsword, and a glaive all feel very different.

A greatsword deals a lot of damage, perfect for a bruiser character like a worshiper of Gorum: its damage die is d12 and you can seamlessly switch between piercing and slashing damage to avoid enemy resistances and exploit their weaknesses.

A bo staff is all about controlling the fight. Its damage die is only d8, but it has reach (allowing you to Strike enemies up to 10 feet away), parry (allowing you to spend an action to increase your AC much like a light shield), and trip (giving you several benefits to your attempts to trip enemies). Plus, it has the monk trait, which weapon-wielding monks particularly enjoy.

The glaive has a d8 damage die like the bo staff and shares its reach, but that's where the similarities end. The glaive has deadly d8 (dealing additional d8s of damage on a critical hit), and it is forceful (which means once you get it going and build up momentum, your attacks become more and more powerful: 1 extra damage per die on the second attack of your turn, 2 extra damage for any attacks after that). The glaive-user isn't interested in giving up an action for defense like a character with a bo staff; instead, she does best if she artfully sweeps the blade like a brush, focusing on accuracy and multiple attacks to really dish out the damage—particularly fitting for a follower of Shelyn.

We want to give every weapon a different personality like this so that we can better serve the infinite personalities that players bring with their characters!

Some other fun weapon traits I haven't covered yet: Twin weapons like the saw-toothed saber deal more damage if you fight with two of them. Backswing weapons like the greatclub gain a little accuracy after a miss. Backstabber weapons like the dogslicer deal more damage to flat-footed targets. Agile weapons like the shortsword decrease the penalty for making multiple attacks in a single turn. Finesse weapons like the rapier use your Dexterity modifier for attack rolls if you prefer. Two-hand weapons like the bastard sword deal much higher damage if you wield them in two hands instead of one!

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Critical Specialization and Weapon Groups

Traits give us some really cool ways to distinguish weapons, but we decided to throw one more customization factor into the mix, this time for similar groups of weapons: critical specialization effects.

Characters who unlock their weapon's critical specialization effect gain a special bonus effect on a critical hit that's different for each weapon group. For example, let's compare swords, spears, and axes.

Swords make the target flat-footed on a critical hit, making it easier for you and your allies to hit the target again (and making the group's rogue very happy). This cements swords like the greatsword or a longsword as great choices for dealing damage to challenging foes like bosses, as they have high damage and decrease the boss's AC so your team can hit more often.

Spears pierce the target and weaken its attacks. This makes a spear a good option for someone using a more defensive strategy built around negating enemy attacks.

Axes swing to an adjacent target (if any), damaging that target, too! Combined with the fact that axes usually have the sweep trait, giving you a bonus on attacks when you move on to a new target in the same turn, this makes axes extremely well suited for sweeping up groups of enemies.

These are just a few of the possibilities. For instance, daggers can cause persistent bleed damage, and clubs can knock the target up to 10 feet away (particularly amusing on a well-placed Attack of Opportunity).

Weapon Quality

Weapons, as well as other non-weapon items (but come on, those aren't as cool as weapons, right?), can be poor quality, standard quality, expert quality, master quality, or legendary quality.

Quality grants an item bonus or penalty of the same value as the matching proficiency (so an expert bow grants a +1 item bonus to hit and a legendary axe grants a +3 item bonus to hit). You have to have the matching proficiency to Craft a weapon of that quality though, so you can't make a master sword, for instance, unless you are a master at Crafting.

And now you know the basics about weapons! All there is to do now is choose the weapon that suits you. Until next time!

Mark Seifter
Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
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Asgetrion wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Speed Factor got use a lot more than weapons-vs-armor-adjustments did IME. It was no small part of why longswords were the most popular melee weapon of choice (SF 3 IIRC). A two-handed sword was monstrously slow to swing (SF 7?).

Combine a SF 3 weapon with a -3 speed adjustment from Dex and you have a character launching their first swing on initiative+0.

Longsword had SF 5 and two-handed sword had SF 10. Daggers (SF 2) and short swords (SF 3) were weapons of choice vs. spellcasters in my group, since you would automatically disrupt their spells if you dealt any damage. :)

And don't forget that your weapon's enchantment bonus also impacted SF, so it was not uncommon to have longsword wielders who also had init +0!

*checks over a Venerable Character Sheet

*almost chokes on the dust cloud

sunblades were truly awesome that way. grins


The Mad Comrade wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Speed Factor got use a lot more than weapons-vs-armor-adjustments did IME. It was no small part of why longswords were the most popular melee weapon of choice (SF 3 IIRC). A two-handed sword was monstrously slow to swing (SF 7?).

Combine a SF 3 weapon with a -3 speed adjustment from Dex and you have a character launching their first swing on initiative+0.

Longsword had SF 5 and two-handed sword had SF 10. Daggers (SF 2) and short swords (SF 3) were weapons of choice vs. spellcasters in my group, since you would automatically disrupt their spells if you dealt any damage. :)

And don't forget that your weapon's enchantment bonus also impacted SF, so it was not uncommon to have longsword wielders who also had init +0!

*checks over a Venerable Character Sheet

*almost chokes on the dust cloud

sunblades were truly awesome that way. grins

Except if you were closing the distance, the longer weapon went first.


Pagan priest wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Speed Factor got use a lot more than weapons-vs-armor-adjustments did IME. It was no small part of why longswords were the most popular melee weapon of choice (SF 3 IIRC). A two-handed sword was monstrously slow to swing (SF 7?).

Combine a SF 3 weapon with a -3 speed adjustment from Dex and you have a character launching their first swing on initiative+0.

Longsword had SF 5 and two-handed sword had SF 10. Daggers (SF 2) and short swords (SF 3) were weapons of choice vs. spellcasters in my group, since you would automatically disrupt their spells if you dealt any damage. :)

And don't forget that your weapon's enchantment bonus also impacted SF, so it was not uncommon to have longsword wielders who also had init +0!

*checks over a Venerable Character Sheet

*almost chokes on the dust cloud

sunblades were truly awesome that way. grins

Except if you were closing the distance, the longer weapon went first.

That was 1st Ed AD&D (and space to wield weapons effectively), not 2nd Ed, right?

Though 2nd Ed PO Combat & Tactics added all sorts of weapon rules.

On the Str and Dex to damage, I hope they don't allow any ability modifier added to damage for weapons that you load, or you have the ridiculous 5th Ed situation where a character with a 16 Dex can go around blowing commoner's heads off with a blowgun.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

^Haven't checked out 5th Edition D&D in quite enough detail: Can housecats beat up Commoners there too?


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Haven't checked out 5th Edition D&D in quite enough detail: Can housecats beat up Commoners there too?

Yep, 4 hits from a housecat and you're out...they should add the tag to Tiny animals "Can only deal damage to Tiny creatures in combat" or something, to avoid the ill-tempered hedgehog taking out your 1st-level wizard.

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Yeah, hedgehogs should only be able to beat up artificers.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Now on to a bit from the blog. A great sword is now 1d12 instead of 2d6. Will similar changes be made to other weapons that had more than one die, like Falchion?
Yup, it was confirmed last Friday's twitch stream that base weapons won't have multiple damage dice anymore.

Now I wonder how they will handle size, because the damage progression relied on multiple dice.


Khudzlin wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Now on to a bit from the blog. A great sword is now 1d12 instead of 2d6. Will similar changes be made to other weapons that had more than one die, like Falchion?
Yup, it was confirmed last Friday's twitch stream that base weapons won't have multiple damage dice anymore.
Now I wonder how they will handle size, because the damage progression relied on multiple dice.

Maybe like 5th Ed, simply double the dice for Large, triple for Huge, etc.

Dark Archive

The Mad Comrade wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Speed Factor got use a lot more than weapons-vs-armor-adjustments did IME. It was no small part of why longswords were the most popular melee weapon of choice (SF 3 IIRC). A two-handed sword was monstrously slow to swing (SF 7?).

Combine a SF 3 weapon with a -3 speed adjustment from Dex and you have a character launching their first swing on initiative+0.

Longsword had SF 5 and two-handed sword had SF 10. Daggers (SF 2) and short swords (SF 3) were weapons of choice vs. spellcasters in my group, since you would automatically disrupt their spells if you dealt any damage. :)

And don't forget that your weapon's enchantment bonus also impacted SF, so it was not uncommon to have longsword wielders who also had init +0!

*checks over a Venerable Character Sheet

*almost chokes on the dust cloud

sunblades were truly awesome that way. grins

Haha, true words, my comrade, true words! I still play a character (16th level human fighter) who started his career his career 25+ years ago back in AD&D; he's been converted to 3E and exists now as a Pathfinder character. And despite all the years that have passed, we still occasionally get to play that campaign! :)

We used the Player's Option books my fighter also had Weapon Mastery (High Mastery) in two-handed sword, meaning that his SF was something like 2-3 lower from that alone! I could also dust off some character sheets to confirm this, but I *think* his SF was 1 or 2 with his +3 two-handed sword...

It's strange, I always felt he never fit really well in 3E; our wizard and cleric *thrived* while the martial PCs seemed a lot... diminished, I guess? Especially 3.0 didn't do high-level play that well. Well, then Pathfinder rolled out, and my fighter didn't even *need* boosts from potion or spells to perform his role in the group!

(A funny thing: I've actually played the same combat encounter *twice* in that campaign. The first time it happened this CR 15 solo monster handed us our ass*s in 4-5 rounds, regardless of spellcasters and boosts. And we hardly even scratched his hit points. With Pathfinder rules it was a tough fight, but we took him down in 3 or 4 rounds with my fighter playing a key role in that combat!)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Weather Report wrote:
Khudzlin wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Now on to a bit from the blog. A great sword is now 1d12 instead of 2d6. Will similar changes be made to other weapons that had more than one die, like Falchion?
Yup, it was confirmed last Friday's twitch stream that base weapons won't have multiple damage dice anymore.
Now I wonder how they will handle size, because the damage progression relied on multiple dice.
Maybe like 5th Ed, simply double the dice for Large, triple for Huge, etc.

Going to pipe in again that size modifiers to damage should just be flat numbers, so we're not messing with the size or number of the dice. Especially since that "extra dice" solution only works when getting bigger, not when shrinking.

So Large can be +2 damage, Huge can be +4, Gargantuan can be +8, etc. And the same in reverse as you drop below Medium.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Khudzlin wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Now on to a bit from the blog. A great sword is now 1d12 instead of 2d6. Will similar changes be made to other weapons that had more than one die, like Falchion?
Yup, it was confirmed last Friday's twitch stream that base weapons won't have multiple damage dice anymore.
Now I wonder how they will handle size, because the damage progression relied on multiple dice.
Maybe like 5th Ed, simply double the dice for Large, triple for Huge, etc.

Going to pipe in again that size modifiers to damage should just be flat numbers, so we're not messing with the size or number of the dice. Especially since that "extra dice" solution only works when getting bigger, not when shrinking.

So Large can be +2 damage, Huge can be +4, Gargantuan can be +8, etc. And the same in reverse as you drop below Medium.

This is an interesting way to go, but now there is no difference between small and medium weapon damage, and we don't know what they will do with Tiny and smaller, actually, I don't think we know how many size categories are in the new edition.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Khudzlin wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Now on to a bit from the blog. A great sword is now 1d12 instead of 2d6. Will similar changes be made to other weapons that had more than one die, like Falchion?
Yup, it was confirmed last Friday's twitch stream that base weapons won't have multiple damage dice anymore.
Now I wonder how they will handle size, because the damage progression relied on multiple dice.
Maybe like 5th Ed, simply double the dice for Large, triple for Huge, etc.

Going to pipe in again that size modifiers to damage should just be flat numbers, so we're not messing with the size or number of the dice. Especially since that "extra dice" solution only works when getting bigger, not when shrinking.

So Large can be +2 damage, Huge can be +4, Gargantuan can be +8, etc. And the same in reverse as you drop below Medium.

For shrinking, you can reduce the damage type. It is easy to go 1d6 -> 1d4 -> 1d3 -> 1d2 -> 1 point. It's harder to go 1d8-> 1d10 -> 1d12 -> 1d14, because we don't have 1d14s. And if you go 1d20, the step is too big, and the next step (1d100) is absurd.

So adding dice for extra damage is good enough. You only need to reduce damage for size a few steps anyway. Small does the same than medium. There's tiny, then diminutive, and Fine does not really matter, unless we start seeing mosquitos wearing two handed swords.

Actually, Tiny is almost the smallest you will find ever.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Khudzlin wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dragonborn3 wrote:
Now on to a bit from the blog. A great sword is now 1d12 instead of 2d6. Will similar changes be made to other weapons that had more than one die, like Falchion?
Yup, it was confirmed last Friday's twitch stream that base weapons won't have multiple damage dice anymore.
Now I wonder how they will handle size, because the damage progression relied on multiple dice.
Maybe like 5th Ed, simply double the dice for Large, triple for Huge, etc.

Going to pipe in again that size modifiers to damage should just be flat numbers, so we're not messing with the size or number of the dice. Especially since that "extra dice" solution only works when getting bigger, not when shrinking.

So Large can be +2 damage, Huge can be +4, Gargantuan can be +8, etc. And the same in reverse as you drop below Medium.

For shrinking, you can reduce the damage type. It is easy to go 1d6 -> 1d4 -> 1d3 -> 1d2 -> 1 point. It's harder to go 1d8-> 1d10 -> 1d12 -> 1d14, because we don't have 1d14s. And if you go 1d20, the step is too big, and the next step (1d100) is absurd.

So adding dice for extra damage is good enough. You only need to reduce damage for size a few steps anyway. Small does the same than medium. There's tiny, then diminutive, and Fine does not really matter, unless we start seeing mosquitos wearing two handed swords.

Actually, Tiny is almost the smallest you will find ever.

Yeah, we might not even have Diminutive and/or Fine anymore.


Weather Report wrote:
Pagan priest wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Speed Factor got use a lot more than weapons-vs-armor-adjustments did IME. It was no small part of why longswords were the most popular melee weapon of choice (SF 3 IIRC). A two-handed sword was monstrously slow to swing (SF 7?).

Combine a SF 3 weapon with a -3 speed adjustment from Dex and you have a character launching their first swing on initiative+0.

Longsword had SF 5 and two-handed sword had SF 10. Daggers (SF 2) and short swords (SF 3) were weapons of choice vs. spellcasters in my group, since you would automatically disrupt their spells if you dealt any damage. :)

And don't forget that your weapon's enchantment bonus also impacted SF, so it was not uncommon to have longsword wielders who also had init +0!

*checks over a Venerable Character Sheet

*almost chokes on the dust cloud

sunblades were truly awesome that way. grins

Except if you were closing the distance, the longer weapon went first.

That was 1st Ed AD&D (and space to wield weapons effectively), not 2nd Ed, right?

Though 2nd Ed PO Combat & Tactics added all sorts of weapon rules.

On the Str and Dex to damage, I hope they don't allow any ability modifier added to damage for weapons that you load, or you have the ridiculous 5th Ed situation where a character with a 16 Dex can go around blowing commoner's heads off with a blowgun.

I was indeed referring to 1st ed.

As far as killing commoners with a blowgun, why not? Put a dart in the jugular, and he bleeds out very quickly. Not exactly blowing his head off, but almost as bloody.


Pagan priest wrote:

As far as killing commoners with a blowgun, why not? Put a dart in the jugular, and he bleeds out very quickly. Not exactly blowing his head off, but almost as bloody.

I could see that in an action spoof, like Hot Shots, but that's not how blow-darts work, they don't so much deal damage, hurt you, at all, they just deliver something terrible.

A regular thrown dart, especially Wushu (Piao Shih), hell yeah, can mess you up big time.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
gustavo iglesias wrote:

For shrinking, you can reduce the damage type. It is easy to go 1d6 -> 1d4 -> 1d3 -> 1d2 -> 1 point. It's harder to go 1d8-> 1d10 -> 1d12 -> 1d14, because we don't have 1d14s. And if you go 1d20, the step is too big, and the next step (1d100) is absurd.

So adding dice for extra damage is good enough. You only need to reduce damage for size a few steps anyway. Small does the same than medium. There's tiny, then diminutive, and Fine does not really matter, unless we start seeing mosquitos wearing two handed swords.

Actually, Tiny is almost the smallest you will find ever.

There are d16s and d24s (not part of the standard set, but not as weird as d100s). The progression could go 1d8 -> 1d10 -> 1d12 -> 1d16 -> 1d20 -> 1d24 (the old progression was 1d8 -> 1d10 -> 2d6 -> 2d8 -> 3d6 -> 3d8, so it's not unreasonable). Though I doubt Paizo will do that. And flat negative modifiers on top of reduced STR scores make very small creatures not deal any damage at all.


Y'all are here hyping about weapons while I'm afraid the blowgun won't appear at all D:


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Malk_Content wrote:
Xelaaredn wrote:
Cuttlefist wrote:
Was hoping for a class blog like Wizard or Ranger, real curious what they are going to do with Ranger, but this is awesome info. I love how they are looking to make different weapons really weigh in on character build.

Wizard and Ranger are fine and all... But they've been around for awhile.

How about a hint at the kineticist, or at least a confirmation of it it'll be brought over "at some point".

I believe Erik stated that while they won't port every class, they want there to be a way to play every class in PF2E eventually. If that makes sense.

I.e they may not port Cavalier (just an example have no proof one way or another) but by adding the global "Knight" archetype any character can invest feats into being quite cavalier like.

Cavalier always struck me as something better done by taking some other class and just spending feats to specialize in mounts and mounted combat.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

Thanks for all the lively discussion so far in this thread. At this time we've decided to close up the blog discussion thread. If you have comments, questions or other things you want to post that do not fit into any currently open threads, you are welcome to start a new thread. Thanks!

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